The Diamondbacks are not convinced Chase Anderson is caught in “a numbers game.”
The D-backs right-handed pitching prospect is turning heads with his production in the Arizona Fall League this autumn, but the consensus indicates Anderson is not in the same category as the top prospects of Tyler Skaggs, Patrick Corbin, Trevor Bauer, David Holmberg or Charles Brewer.
While general manager Kevin Towers builds teams throughout pitching, Anderson, who was selected by Arizona on the 9th round of the June, 2009 draft, will turn 25 at the end of this month. His time for development may now be measured and with several considered ahead of him on the D-backs minor league depth chart, Anderson may have to produce quickly.
After spending his first professional season at Missoula in the Rookie League, Anderson then pitched parts of two seasons at Visalia and then, this past summer, at AA Mobile. That may not be enough experience to qualify for a legitimate shot at the major league roster, but Anderson continues to push himself.
While he may be projected at the AA level when spring training breaks late next March, there is clearly one facet of Anderson’s game which stresses development.
“He needs to develop better fast ball command,” said Matt Williams, the D-backs third base coach and Anderson’s manager with Salt River in the Arizona Fall League. “He has a very good change, but must develop the fast ball command to both right-handed and left-handed hitters.”
Williams describes Anderson as “a four pitch-pitcher,” and indicated Anderson’s curve is currently his “out” pitch.
For his part, Anderson says he’s excited to be part of the Arizona organization and willing to take instruction.
With the Salt River Rafters in the Arizona Fall League this autumn, he’s started four games, won two and took a 3.29 ERA into last Saturday’s All-Star game at the D-backs spring training facility at Talking Stick. At the All-Star break, Anderson is tied for second in the league with 19 strikeouts, and recorded four Ks in the All-Star game during two innings of work.
“I will do my best to get on that 40 man roster,” he said after the All-Star game. “It’s a great opportunity to play with all of the best prospects, and here, I’ve learned how to prepare better.”
Coming off a 5-4 season at AA Mobile, Anderson started 21 games, an ERA of 2.86 and made the Southern League all-star team. As well, the native of Wichita Falls, Texas native fanned 97 batters in 104 inning with the BayBears.
While those numbers were adequate, there were not so dynamic as to push Anderson quickly through the Diamondbacks system.
To this point, Williams denied Anderson is caught in “a numbers games,” and said Anderson will go as far as his ability takes him.
“(Towers) does not look at numbers but efficiency,” Williams said. “It’s also about organizational development. (Towers) is not afraid to pull the trigger and if other teams like players in our system, Towers will not hesitate to make a deal if the trade will also help our organization.”
For now, Anderson has his assignment and that is to improve his fast ball command.
If that happens, he could move rapidly through the Arizona organization, and given the uncertainty of the rotation currently at the major league level, Anderson hopes he is in a position to influence decisions.
The Diamondbacks will present their new on-camera TV faces Monday afternoon at a Chase Field news conference.
Luring former D-backs manager Bob Brenly from WGN and the Cubs, and hiring former ESPN studio host Steve Berthiaume as the play-by-the-play, the Diamondbacks now have a complete turn-around in the TV booth from last season.
Play-by-play announcer Daron Sutton, who was fired in the middle of season for “philosophical differences,” and analyst Mark Grace, who was arrested on his second on DUI charges and whose contract not renewed, both said “ahola” to the desert.
Greg Schulte, who moved into the TV booth to fill in for the departed Sutton, returns to the radio side and will be joined by his usual analyst Tom Candiotti for the 2013 season.